Helping to secure a victory for the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act was a monumental milestone for the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), which it achieved this past December. The bill, which provides $2 billion in relief for the motorcoach industry, will help an industry that has been devastated by COVID shutdowns and tight travel restrictions.
But the work is far from done, according to UMA COO Ken Presley and Legislative and Regulatory Committee Chair Alan Thrasher of Thrasher Brothers Trailways, who detailed a robust plan for 2021 as the nation welcomes a new President and Democratically control House and Senate. High on the list of priorities for the Biden administration is addressing climate change, but equally important are a bevy of regulatory issues that could have a significant impact on the struggling industry in the years to come. Among the issues that the association is watching are changes in the Charter Service Rule, potential increase in insurance limits (possibly to $10 million, which could limit the number of insurers writing policies), change in “satisfactory” rating that could lead to more third-party inspections, retroactive seat belt policy, overturning of overtime exemption (a “personal mission” of New York Senator Chuck Schumer), and a step up in mandatory regulations and driver testing, to name a few.
As a result, Presley strongly encouraged operators to register (or re-register, if longer than two years) for the hard-fought Charter Service Registry, which helps to protect private companies from competing against local transit and offers opportunities for area work. It’s very important to check that the email on file is current (make sure it goes to an email that is checked regularly). The list currently stands at around 300 operators, although Presley hopes that it will increase to 2,000. You can register here.
Although CERTS money isn’t even available to operators yet (expected later this month or next month), CERTS 2.0 is also on the legislative list for UMA. Another round of economic relief is currently slogging its way through Congress, although it’s an uphill battle between the parties. The association is optimistic that a recovery will begin in earnest later this year, but additional assistance will surely be welcome in the coming months. Stay tuned.
UMA holds Town Hall meetings via Zoom every Thursday at 2 p.m. ET. You can register for the meeting here.
Visit uma.org for more information.